In June of 1994, at the annual
Crockett, Texas reunion of Retired Houston Police Officers. A group of retired
officers having dinner discussed the need for a retired officers association to
represent retired officers of the Houston Police Department.
On August 3, 1994 an organizational meeting was held in the conference room of
the Houston Police Officers Pension System, 602 Sawyer Street in Houston,
Texas. Present at this meeting were the following W.G. Eickenhorst, George
Harman, J.D. Evans, Carmen Brumley, John Lawson, C.E. Smith, Ken Defoor, Donny
McManness, Jack Guy, R.B. Sanford, Floyd Nettles, Bobby Lott, Haney P.
Wilkerson, H.P. Laird, F.W. Turbeville, Eli Rivera, Jack Collins, Mike
Mitchell, John Adams, Wilfred Navarro, Jr. Chester Massey, E.E. Hasford, W.E.
Mathews, Doris Ernest, D.J. Horn, Judy Baker, Pat Franey and L.N. Zoch.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the formation of an
organization composed of retired officers, which would dedicate itself to
improving pension and other benefits for retirees and surviving spouses.
In 1994 all officers that had retired prior to July 1, 1986
were receiving a pension benefit of 30% of base pay that the officer was
receiving at the time of his/her retirement, based on twenty years of service.
On July 1, 1986 the statute was amended for officers retiring
after July 1, 1988 to receive 40% of their base pay upon retirement, after
twenty years of service. Officers who retired after July 1, 1988 received a
pension benefit of 45% of their base pay upon retirement, after twenty years of
Retirees present at the organizational meeting recognized
that there was a need for an organization to be formed and voted to officially
organize the Houston Police Retired Officers Association.
The following were elected to service on the Executive Board
of Directors. President W.G. Eickenhorst, First Vice President Jack Collins,
Treasurer John Adams, Secretary James D. Evans. Board of Directors Wilfred
Navarro, C.E. Smith, Ken DeFoor, Haney P. Wilkerson, Henry M. "Hank"
Laird, Carman Brumley, and Jack W. Guy. The newly elected board of directors
also adopted by-Laws. The secretary was instructed to file the necessary forms
with the Texas Secretary of State and the Harris County Court House.
Membership in the HPROA grew from the beginning, the minutes
of the November 17, 1994 reflect that Ms. Dana Gerard had been employed as a
part time secretary and membership was 297 members and $29,580.00 had been
collected in dues and donations.
Since its inception and through our lobbying efforts with the
Texas Legislature in Austin, and with Houston City Council we have managed to
improve the following pension benefits: In 1995 the law was changed permitting
surviving spouses of deceased officers to remarry and continue receiving
pension benefits. In 1997 the statute was amended for all police officers to
receive 50% of their base pay for the first twenty years of service.
The HPROA was also instrumental in increasing the cost of
living benefit to a minimum of 3% per year. In 1998 a lump sum benefit payment
of $5,000.00 was made to all current retirees and beneficiaries and eliminated the 80% benefit maximum. In 1999 statutes were
amended to require that the two retired members on the Houston Police Officers
Pension System board of trustees would be elected by the general membership,
instead of being appointed. Also to provide retirees a 13th pension benefit
when meeting certain requirements. In 1999 and 2000 all retirees and surviving
spouses received a 13th check.
In 2001 the state statute was amended for all retirees to
receive 55% of base pay for the first twenty years of service, and insurance
stipend was increased to $150.00 per member.
The HPROA, is recognized by all elected officials, the
general public, and members of the Law Enforcement Community as the
representatives of all Houston Police Department retired officers.